03 May How To Have An Awesome Autumn
When the weather and the seasons change, so do your health needs. With a few adjustments to your activity levels, food and eating habits you can keep in tune with the seasonal changes, boost your immune system and stay healthy and awesome through autumn (and winter). Read on to find out how.
Autumn in Melbourne can be quite dry, chilly and windy. The cool dry winds have an impact on your health, especially on your lungs. Symptoms like dry cough, tight chest or breathing difficulties commonly develop in autumn. If you already have a predisposition to lung conditions, suffer from asthma or catch colds easily, you might find your symptoms worsen or become more difficult to manage during autumn. The dryness of the climate can also contribute to the development or exacerbation of other symptoms or complaints such as dry skin or constipation.
According to Chinese Medicine (CM), Autumn is the transition from the warm, active months of summer to the cool and quieter months of winter. During summer we tend to ‘run hot’, use up lots of energy, possibly draining and depleting ourselves. Just like the land and soil needs to rest after harvest and prepare for re-planting, you also need to recover from summer and prepare your body for cooler, drier conditions and for winter. So as you body converts from the Yang (hot & active) energy of summer to the upcoming Yin (cool & replenishing) energy of winter, autumn is the time to increase the focus on self-nurturing and nourishing.
Simple Ways To Avoid Autumn Turning Awful?
Wear a scarf
To protect your lungs and your health from the cold winds and to prevent catching coughs, colds and flus, it is important you dress appropriately. It’s particularly important to cover your neck and shoulders as these areas are vulnerable when the temperature drops and you’re exposed to the elements. Wearing a scarf around your neck is a simple way to protect yourself.
Slow down & rest more
As the days are getting shorter and colder your body will require less activity and more rest. Try getting to bed a little earlier and perhaps consider replacing a pump or spin class with a yin yoga session.
Food As Medicine – Eat seasonally
Adjusting what you eat in accordance with the seasons is a simple way to maintain health according to Chinese medicine (and general Worldwide nutritional knowledge!). Luckily a good variety of delicious fruits and vegetables are in season in autumn. The trick is to get a balance between cooling, warming, pungent and moistening foods. After summer your digestive system may be weakened due to over-eating (during the festive season) and too many cooling foods such as melons, stone fruits, salads and smoothies. Dark green and orange vegetables are great for strengthening your digestive system and cooked vegetables are generally better than raw. In early autumn steaming and lightly baking your food is recommended. As the winter approaches you need to cook your food for longer to assist digestion. Soups and casseroles are ideal.
It’s important to include more pungent foods to your diet as these are especially good for your lungs this time of year. Although we still get some lovely warm days during autumn, you need to increase your intake of warming foods to accommodate for the weather generally becoming colder.
Some examples of suitable seasonal autumn foods include the following
(categorised according to their nature and health properties):
Pungent foods: bay leaves, capers, cardamom, chives, cloves, dill, fennel, leek, oregano, nutmeg, rosemary, tumeric, cabbage, turnip, ginger, pepper, onions, garlic and chillies.
Cooling pungent: peppermint, chamomile, watercress, radish, daikon and seaweed.
Warming pungent: fennel, garlic, onions, mustard greens, horseradish and ginger.
Foods to moisten and nourish Yin: Seaweed, pears, peaches, green beans, eggs, oysters and clams.
Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
Boosting your immune system in autumn will benefit you once winter kicks in.
In addition to the above suggestions we recommend acupuncture and herbal medicine to keep you strong and balanced. We offer both preventative and symptomatic treatments. So, if you’re feeling a little ‘run down’ or on the verge of coming down with a cold give us a call sooner rather than later. We’re here to help you have an awesome autumn!
Blog written by Christina Tolstrup April 2019